Millions of American motorists will get stranded this summer, according to a new AAA survey published in May 2017. The automotive travel group said it expects most of the stranded drivers to face dead batteries, flat tires and keys locked inside their vehicles. According to the survey, four out of 10 drivers are unprepared for breakdowns. The survey also found that two-thirds of car owners have never had their car battery tested, and one out of five drivers do not know how to change a tire.
AAA recommends that drivers prep for a road trip by scheduling a checkup for their vehicles before hitting the road. It's also a good idea to carry an extra set of keys and a phone charger, and to pack an emergency kit, including a flashlight, first-aid kit and jumper cables.
Roadside Assistance App
For folks who belong to an auto club for the peace of mind that comes with having roadside assistance, a free app called Honk lets you quickly call a tow truck or mechanic without the annual membership fee.
The app gives you access to 24/7 highway help from a database of more than 20,000 independently-owned tow trucks and garages, with service starting at under $50.
If you own a clunker that requires multiple tows per year, then an auto club membership can still make a lot of sense. But if you keep your membership going for a just-in-case scenario, then consider Honk.
How Honk works
If you find yourself out of gas, with a flat tire or dead battery, broken down, or otherwise stranded, Honk provides on-demand auto assistance with an average wait time of 15-30 minutes.
You sign up with your name, email and cell phone number. It's optional to store your credit card information. Next, you'll register your vehicle(s) based on make, model, and color.
Follow the menu of choices to report your problem (e.g., locked out, out of gas, dead battery, flat tire) , then choose an operator from the options given.
We love the "transparent & trustworthy" promise, which lets you see a guaranteed maximum price, including taxes and tip, before you order. You pay directly through the app, so there's no need for cash.
Personal Experience with Honk App
Recently my car would not start and was making a dreaded clicking sound when I turned the key in the ignition. I used Honk to call roadside assistance to jump my dead battery and was quoted $75. I accepted and received an original notification that the tow service would arrive within 25 minutes.
As it turned out, the truck pulled up 15 minutes late, but I considered the tardiness excusable for three reasons: a) I received multiple communications from Honk during the wait time, updating me on the status of the truck's arrival. I never felt like my request had disappeared into a black hole; b) my location was out in the proverbial "middle of nowhere," far from a highway and nearest town, so it was understandable that it took a bit more time for a truck to arrive; c) the tow service provider could not have been more professional or polite. He solved my problem and got me back on the road within minutes. I would definitely use Honk again.
More Great Road Trip Tips
Stay up to date on the latest family vacations getaway ideas, travel tips, and deals. Sign up for my free family vacations newsletter today!